I studied Medical Science at the University of Birmingham, UK, graduating in 1999. Following this I entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Leeds, studying under Professor Chris Peers. My Ph.D. thesis focused on the actions of hypoxia and the Abeta peptide on whole cell calcium currents. Many of the actions of hypoxia were mediated by production of the Abeta peptide, and served to increase calcium influx into cells via the L-type voltage gated calcium channel.
Following my Ph.D. I came to UCI as a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Dr. LaFerla and initially continued to study the role of calcium in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease through the presenilin protein. However, I expanded to also understand some of the risk factors for the development of Alzheimer’s disease, including stress and intellectual activity, as well as developed a number of therapeutics for the disease including DHA and nicotinamide, which both contributed to clinical trials.
Since starting my own lab in 2011, I have focused on microglia, the immune cell of the brain. We discovered that microglia in the adult brain are dependent upon signaling through the colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) for their survival, and that we could take advantage of this dependency through the administration of specific CSF1R inhibitors leading to the rapid and sustained elimination of >95% of all microglia from the CNS. Through this method we are studying the roles that microglia play in normal brain function, as well as their effects on the brain during disease and injury.
We also uncovered that once the brain has been depleted of microglia withdrawal of CSF1R inhibitors leads to the rapid repopulation of the entire CNS by both surviving microglia and progenitor cells that then differentiate into new microglia, all within a few days. We are exploring the therapeutic implications eliminating microglia after injury, or in disease, and then replacing them with new cells.
My hobbies include scuba diving, monkey wrangling, shark hugging, snake charming, and speaking with a British accent.
|7/01/2016||Associate Professor||Dept. of Neurobiology and Behavior|
|10/01/2011||Assistant Professor||Dept. of Neurobiology and Behavior|
|08/01/2010||Assistant Professor In Residence||Dept. of Neurobiology and Behavior|
|2007-2010||Assistant Project Scientist|
|2003-2007||Postdoctoral Researcher||Dept. of Neurobiology and Behavior,
University of California, Irvine
|Institute for Cardiovascular Research, University of Leeds, UK
Mentor: Prof. Chris Peers
(B. Med. Sc. (Hons), 2.i,)
|University of Birmingham, UK|